070820 Evans and Rogers finish one-two in Good Luck Beijing time trial test event
2007 Tour de France runner up, Cadel Evans, and three time individual time trial World Champion Michael Rogers finished first and second on the podium today in the individual time trial stage of the Good Luck Beijing official road cycling test event.
Evans clocked a winning time of 32m28.92sec for the 23.65km course to finish 24.74sec clear of Rogers (32m53.66sec) while third placed Alexandr Dyachenko of Kazakhstan rode 33min27.52sec.
"It's all good when you win," said Evans after completing one lap of the circuit which next year the men will cover twice for the Olympic Games event. "We are mainly here to collect information and be as prepared as we can be for next year and we've certainly accomplished that so getting a result on the way is a nice little bonus."
The time trial circuit is a section of the road race course and includes a 10 kilometre climb straight out of the starting gate followed by a 10 kilometre descent all raced along the stunning backdrop of the Juyongguan and Badaling sections of the Great Wall of China.
"I think the climb suits me alright," said Evans. "The course (then goes) down a valley with the prevailing wind blowing right up the valley so it's hard to ride at 60 to 65 kilometres an hour for ten kilometres into a headwind.
"Here the one thing that surprised us was that the wind picked up in the afternoon and if it was warm like it has been the last couple of days with the humidity it will make it pretty tough conditions."
Rogers agrees the course will prove testing for everyone who lines up at next year's Olympic Games in China.
"It's certainly very hard from the start and it going to a be a very challenging time trial," Rogers said. "You don't want to start too fast because you need a lot of energy for the last lap which will really make a difference.
"The downhill is very open with a lot of headwind and it's not a gradient you can roll down, you really have to pedal," he explained. "There's no rest, not an inch of rest on the whole circuit."
Rogers was the thirteenth from last rider to start and set the target for Evans to beat. The Victorian, went out of the gate 16 minutes later and demolished the climb to put 36 seconds into Rogers at the 10.8km intermediate time check. Then, as Rogers sat in the hot seat reserved for the race leader, Evans maintained his performance and knocked his compatriot from the number one position.
"It was alright (being beaten by Cadel)," said Rogers. "He came here with super condition out of the Tour (de France) and I was quite happy with my ride.
Rogers has spent the last month recovering from a shoulder injury sustained when he crashed into a metal guard rail at high speed ending his own Tour de France and rated his fitness level at around 65 percent for today's race. He has also endured the pain of a cracked tooth whilst in Beijing but says all that aside it has been 'mission accomplished' for the Australian reconnaissance trip.
"Our main competitors weren't here and I think we'll have quite a big mental advantage over them (next year)," explained Rogers. "It was a bit of an effort to come here but I'm really glad we made the time."
Evans agrees the trip has given them a head start with Olympic Games preparations.
"For me I'd never been to China before and to come in and get an idea of what it's like and what the people are like means we come into a slightly familiar environment which is a good thing," said Evans. "Also to have experienced the climb under race conditions is really helpful for next year."
Evans' victory in the time trial was enough to give him overall honours for the two day, two stage Good Luck Beijing Event.
2006 Olympic Games women's road race champion, Sara Carrigan, and former world number one, Oenone Wood, also took advantage of the opportunity to try out the course before the men's event began today and both believe the experience will be invaluable in 2008.
Rogers, Evans, Carrigan and Wood return to Europe tomorrow to rejoin their respective professional teams while Phil Thuaux and Cameron Meyer head back for Australian domestic racing and in the case of Thuaux, preparation for his September wedding.
Attention now turns to the bowl-shaped Laoshan BMX Venue where seven Australians will be in action in the second round of the BMX Supercross World Cup. BMX makes its Olympic Games debut next year and this will be the only time riders will be able to ride the track prior to the Olympic Games. The event also marks the introduction of a women's class (open class Elite Women/Junior Women) to the BMX Supercross World Cup Series.
West Australia Khalen Young, 22, goes into the men's event as the Series leader after his win in the opening round in April in Madrid.
The Australian team
• Jared Graves (Toowoomba, Qld – 16/12/1982)
• Billy Jolliffe (Erina, NSW – 06/12/1986)
• Kamakazi (Jimboomba, QLD – 08/03/1981)
• Luke Madill (Cranebrook, NSW – 28/05/1980)
• Khalen Young (St Helens Park, NSW – 20/11/1984)
• Tanya Bailey (Mariginiup, WA - 15/03/1981)
• Nicole Callisto (Beechboro, WA – 12/11/1987)
• Melissa Mankowski (Moranbah, QLD – 25/08/1988)
Queensland's Melissa Mankowski, 18, will not contest the event after a crash today during training left her with an injured hip.
On Monday the riders will
contest time trials to decide the seeding for Tuesday's Supercross
Please note: Selection of the 2008 Australian Olympic Team will be conducted solely by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
Cycling Australia website www.cycling.org.au
information (media only) please contact:
Gennie Sheer, Sheer Rhetoric - Communications Director, Cycling Australia
Tel: +61 (0) 418 863 533 (Please note Beijing time difference)